Fantasy Shake-up: How the Nash Deal Changes the Landscape

(7/24/12) The hammer dropped on the '12-13 fantasy hockey rankings Monday, as a blockbuster trade sent long-time Columbus star Rick Nash to the New York Rangers. The Blue Jackets received Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, prospect Tim Erixon, and a first round draft pick, in exchange for Nash, Steven Delisle, and a fourth-rounder.

From a fantasy perspective, the biggest winner in the deal is Nash.  He'll finally have a worthy supporting cast in Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik, and a 40-goal season is conceivable after being freed from his shackles in Columbus.  Whether the trio lines up together, or whether the Rangers decide to diversify their lines, the PP unit looks like a fantasy gold mine, and depending how the top-six shakes out, projected second liners like Derek Stepan and Chris Kreider stand to benefit as well.   

Going the other way, Dubinsky and Anisimov also look like winners.  They'll have a chance to earn a feature role with the Blue Jackets, meaning more ice-time and PP opportunities, so despite the overall downgrade in surroundings, they'll probably increase their numbers.  

Meanwhile, the big losers are the existing players in Columbus.  Without Nash, Vaclav Prospal and R.J. Umberber take a hit.  And the team will struggle to find an identity overall, which could stall the development of up-and-comers like Ryan Johansen and Derick Brassard.  Defensemen James Wisniewski and Jack Johnson are also affected negatively.  And not the there was a lot of hope for goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, but his projections must be slightly downgraded.

All-in-all, the Rangers added an elite talent and positioned themselves among the Cup favorites, while the Blue Jackets got a gift basket of role players and a pick for the future, but no game-changers in the deal.